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The best way to create your baby’s bedtime routine—and get more sleep too 💤

Bonus: Bedtime is primed for lots of sweet snuggles!

The best way to create your baby’s bedtime routine—and get more sleep too 💤

As a new parent, bedtime probably feels a little less structured than you hoped it would be. The days tend to blur together into a series of feedings and unpredictable sleep times—often leaving bedtime to fluctuate daily and making routine feel nearly impossible.


And although your baby likely sleeps an average of 17 to 20 hours per day during the first few months of his life, it is not the type of consolidated sleep that would allow for a full night's rest for either of you.

You might think: What is the point of going through a bedtime routine if my baby will just be awake in an hour?

I hear you, mama. And I just want to reassure you that establishing a bedtime routine with your baby will make a difference.

Even at a young age, your baby is starting to form her own sleep habits. Around 3 months of age, your baby will start to sleep in longer stretches (?) and be able to distinguish daytime and nighttime sleep—which makes it an optimal time to think about introducing a bedtime routine.

When babies have consistency and a sense of what’s coming next, it can help them feel secure and therefore primed to doze off. (Not to mention that bedtime routines are prime opportunities for snuggles and bonding!)

Here’s what to keep in mind as you establish a bedtime routine for your baby:

Ease in

There is no need to implement every “best sleep practice” at once. You might find your baby doesn't respond to each part of the routine the way you expect. Try to be patient with yourself and with your baby during this process—which will likely take weeks to establish. And, even then, your baby is one growing machine, so the bedtime routine will naturally continue to evolve.

Choose a bedtime that fits into your baby's current sleep cycle

Your child will usually start to show signs she is feeling sleepy—such as rubbing her eyes, fussing or yawning—during a certain timeframe each night. Catching her in that window (or even before) will help her avoid becoming overtired.

For example, if you know your baby normally starts acting tired around 7 p.m., consider starting to help her wind down around 6:30 p.m. in order to help prepare her for rest.

Create a calm environment

Throughout the day your baby is experiencing many exciting firsts and constantly learning new things. The best thing we can do for our bodies (even as adults) is to calm down and feel relaxed before sleep.

Some examples of this are reading softly to your baby, singing, rocking her and shooshing in her ear. I also suggest moving bathtime to earlier in the day, at least for little ones; the transition from splashing in the tub to trying to sleep isn’t very natural.

Be as consistent as possible

Once bedtime starts to feel like a natural process, your baby will actually want to go to sleep at this time—amazing right? Although I know (and even encourage) bedtimes will vary on some days, it is important to stick with the routine most of the time. This might mean occasionally leaving a family dinner early to get home or saying no to a late-night activity.

Establishing a bedtime isn't going to happen overnight and there will likely be adjustments made along the way. But once you start to incorporate the routine that works for you and your baby, you are already on your way to a happy and healthy sleeper!

In This Article

    Ara Katz/Seed

    We spoke to Ara Katz, co-founder and co-CEO of Seed, who shared her journey to (and through) motherhood—and gave us the lowdown on how probiotics can benefit mamas and children alike.

    Chances are, you're aware that probiotics can help us digest the food we eat, keep inflammation at bay, synthesize essential vitamins and more. But here's the thing: When it comes to probiotics, there's a lot of misinformation… and because of that, it's hard to know what's actually a probiotic and which is the right one for you.

    That's why we chatted with Ara Katz, who is a mama to son Pax and the co-founder of Seed, a company disrupting the probiotics industry. The entrepreneur told us about her motherhood journey, what led her to start her company and what she wants other parents to know about probiotics.

    Q. What was life like for you before you became a mama?

    I was bi-coastal after co-founding a mobile tech company in New York City with a partner in LA. My life was, for as long as I can remember, consumed by creating and work. I was fairly nomadic, loved to travel, spent many hours reading and practicing yoga, being with friends [and] waking up at the crack of dawn. [I] was fairly sure I would never marry or have children. And then something shifted.

    Q. What were some pivotal moments that defined your journey to motherhood?

    Ha, that makes it sound like motherhood is a destination when at this very moment, more than ever, it evolves daily. I lost my mom when I was 17 and spent most of my life believing I didn't want to be a mother. I had a lot of wiring about its limitations and constraints—I'm sure relics of grief and the fear of loss.

    My journey started with a physiological wanting to be pregnant and have a baby. There was a kind of visceral sense that my body wanted to know what that was like and a strange curiosity that, at least for that period of time, usurped my ambivalence about motherhood.

    Then I had a miscarriage—a beautiful inflection point in my story. I resigned from my company, chose a coast, committed to be more committed to my (then) boyfriend, now husband, and tried again. I got pregnant shortly after that and found pregnancy to be a profound journey within, a reshaping of my life and the tiniest glimpse of how motherhood would unfold.

    In the 55 months since giving birth (and I like to use months because I have learned in the moments that I am most frustrated as a mom that he has only been on this planet for less than 14 fiscal quarters), I have realized and surrendered to a definition of motherhood that is a process. One of cultivating, creating, recreating, shapeshifting, learning, feeling, healing, hurting and experiencing the most potent form of presence I have ever experienced—and an aching, expansive love I didn't know possible—not just for my son, but for all living things.

    Q. How did motherhood change your approach to your career?

    Becoming a mother is certainly a persistent lens on all of my choices, but it was really my miscarriage that recalibrated my path. My pregnancy rekindled my love of biology and health and led me to my co-founder and the microbiome. My breastfeeding experience incepted our first product focus, and the newfound accountability for a human inspired our brand.

    Q. What inspired you to co-found Seed?

    I met my co-founder, Raja, during my pregnancy with Pax. [I] was immediately awestruck by his ability to both deeply understand science and to methodically break down a product, dietary question or piece of advice in a way that's educational (you actually learn something about your body), actionable (you understand what to do with the information) and foundational (you can build on that knowledge in the future to continue to make better choices).

    As we spent more time, our combined passion for microbes, their potential impact on both human health and the environment, and how to set up a child for a healthy life became increasingly clear. And through birth, seeding (the process by which we get our foundational microbes and the inspiration for the name of our company) Pax and my struggles with breastfeeding, my entrepreneurial spirit was lit to build something with Raja. His deep experience in translating science to product, and mine in consumer, community-building and translating through storytelling, culminated in a shared vision to set a new standard in health through bacteria.

    Q. Probiotics have been trending in recent years, but they're nothing new—can you talk a bit about the importance of probiotics?

    Interest in gut health and probiotics increases month by month. However, despite the quickly growing number of "probiotic" supplements, foods and beverages out there, there's still a lot of consumer confusion—particularly around what they are, how they work and why we should take them. Probiotics have been studied extensively across various life stages, body sites and for many benefits. Digestion is an obvious and immediate one (and the primary reason most people currently take probiotics). But other strains have also been studied for skin health, heart health and gut health (including gut immune function and gut barrier integrity). But this doesn't mean that any and all probiotics can do these things—this is the importance of 'strain specificity.' In other words, ensuring that the specific strains in your probiotic have been studied for the benefit you desire is critical.

    Seed Daily Synbiotic

    Seed

    Seed's Daily Synbiotic is a 24-strain probiotic + prebiotic formulated for whole-body benefits, including gut, skin and heart health.


    Q. How do probiotics play a role in your life?

    I mean, I take them, I develop them and I work with some of the leading scientists from around the world advancing the field—so they play a big role. As for my personal health, I take our Daily Synbiotic daily and my son also takes specific strains for gastrointestinal health and gut immune function. Beyond that, it's the re-orientation around my microbiome that guides many of my choices: how important fiber is, specific compounds like polyphenols found in berries, green tea and other foods, avoiding the use of NSAIDS like ibuprofen and antibiotics when not needed, exercise, sleep and time in nature [are] all aspects of our daily life that impact our microbiome and our health.

    Q. What are some misconceptions about probiotics that you would like to set straight?

    There's one main myth on from which all the other stem: that probiotics aren't considered a serious science. On the contrary, it's a field of inquiry that demands incredible rigor and extensive research. And when anything and everything from chocolate to ice cream to fermented food and kombucha to mattresses can call itself "probiotic" due to underregulation in the category, that grossly undermines the science and their potential.

    The term 'probiotic' has a globally-accepted scientific definition that was actually co-authored by our Chief Scientist, Dr. Gregor Reid ,for the United Nations/World Health Organization.

    At Seed, we work to reclaim the term for science, through the development of next-generation probiotics that include clinically validated strains and undergo the most rigorous safety, purity and efficacy testing procedures. Because why would you invite billions of unknown microbes into your body without asking "what's in here, is it the correct dosage that was studied, and has that strain in that amount been studied in human clinical trials to do something beneficial for my body"?

    Q. Can you tell us a little bit about what product you plan to launch next?

    We are developing a pipeline of consumer probiotics to target specific ecosystems of the body and life stages, including a synbiotic for children. Our next product will reflect a unique breakthrough in the field of pediatric probiotics, which we are excited to announce soon.

    This article was sponsored by Seed. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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